I was blessed to be in one of Mitchell Tolle’s watercolor workshops for a whole week. I didn’t bring along any reference photos to paint from, so Mitchell was kind enough to let me use a photo of his own granddaughter, Lauren. I must admit he did help me a little with the facial features on his granddaughter. That’s what art classes are for, to learn from the master. Due to the detail involved in painting the straw bale, I was NOT planning on painting the straw, but, substituting a rock instead. “Oh no”, said Mitchell, “You must paint the straw, too.” That was the downside of sitting right in front of him in class. I spent more agonizing time on the straw than the rest of the painting! You may have heard the saying, “That which does’t kill you will only make you stronger.”
Sitting close to the master is how we become better. The master artist challenges us, stretches us, corrects us, teaches us, and encourages us until we can create our own works of art.
The word masterpiece came from a time when aspiring artists worked for another master artist, doing all his dirty jobs, and watching the master at work. Eventually they may be allowed to paint something themselves in the master’s style. If it was good enough, some masters would take the credit and sign it with their own name and sell it. It was considered payment for the lessons. When the aspiring artist was ready to go out on his own, he would give his final payment in the form of the master’s piece and give it to the master artist. That was the master’s piece, kind of like taking a final in school.
“The disciple is not above his master; but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.” Luke 7:40